Journaling for the Future

I have spent many, many hours scrapbooking. With 2500+ pages, my layouts represent many years of our family’s life. I have shared photos and stories and memories. I love when my kids look through our albums and I can’t wait to share these pages with grandchildren and maybe even great grandchildren. I didn’t do all of this work to have the stories stop with us!

However, it’s important to remember that we don’t know who will see our pages and when they will see them. If my grandkids and great grandkids look through the albums, will they understand the story? Will my kids remember the people in the photos? Will anyone have any idea what is going on?

When I create pages, I try to keep these questions in mind. I want to ensure that as my own kids get older, they will remember. And if they might not remember, I need to help them remember. I do this through my journaling. If I journal only to jog my own memory, the story may be lost with me.

This reality was very real to me just this week as I was organizing a bunch of layouts on our kitchen table, getting ready to put them in albums. My husband came in the room and saw a page with a photo of my son with a sticker on his head. The photo was from more than eight years ago and my husband immediately asked, “What’s going on here?” (He hadn’t read the journaling yet). As fresh as the story was in my own mind, my husband had totally forgotten that when our son was two, he put any and all stickers on his head. We’d walk into WalMart and the greeter would give him a sticker — straight to his head it went. He’d find a sticker in his sister’s room — into his hair it would go. Telling the story on my page was important. I want my family to be able to laugh and enjoy the memories even if I am not around to tell them.

Here is an example of a page when I intentionally added more information because I was worried that at some point in the future, my daughter wouldn’t remember. This is a photo of her and her good friend. Although they have known each other for a long time, they are young. I know for sure that I can’t remember all the names of my elementary school friends. By adding names and how they knew each other, I am helping to preserve the memory.

In this situation, I wanted to journal about our love for our motorbike and how much we will miss it. I also wanted to include this photo because of how crazy it is — and yet how normal of a site it was for us during this time in our life. However, I knew that in the future, people may look at this photo and not understand the context at all. So, through my journaling, I helped explain a little to help others understand what they are looking at and also to dispel fears that we were 1) Breaking any laws and 2) Being unsafe.

As you create your pages, be careful to ask yourself, “What would someone fifty years from now think about the page? Will they know who the people are? Will they understand the context? Will it leave them wondering and confused?” By asking these questions, it allows you to be more intentional with what goes on your page and therefore preserving the memories for generations to come.

So what about you? Do you think about how your pages will perceived 20, 30, or 50 years from now? If you imagined your great grandchildren looking at your pages, would they understand the stories?